(even more) Chaos Reigns at Viking: Update 11/19.5

Middleby president Selim Bassoul has named Middleby president Selim Bassoul as interim president of Viking Range, so reports an ApplianceAdvisor.com reader (who we assume is not Middleby president Selim Bassoul.)
Sure!  Why not!!
Is there anything we might glean from the change?  Perhaps two things:

  • Viking might be absorbed into Middleby, and disappear as a separate entity.  (seems unlikely to us)
  • Bassoul blew his stack or there was some other event, which forced a change before he was ready for a change. (more likely).

If anyone is left at Viking to deal with it, Viking today has a refrigerator recall.

Units:  About 750
Description: This recall involves Viking 42-inch and 48-inch built-in side-by-side refrigerator freezers with in-door water and ice dispensers. The recalled refrigerator freezers come in a variety of colors, stainless steel or a custom finish. They were manufactured between October 2012 and May 2013 and have the model numbers listed below. The first six numbers in the serial number are the manufacture date of the unit in MM/DD/YY format. Both sizes of refrigerator freezers have a serial number/date code range from 101712 through 052913. The model and serial numbers are located inside the refrigerators on a label on the ceiling behind the light housing.  See Models: http://www.cpsc.gov/en/Recalls/2014/Viking-Recalls-Built-In-Side-by-Side-Refrigerator-Freezers-with-In-Door-Dispensers/  

It goes on………………..

Incidents/Injuries: Viking has received 27 reports of electrical shorts and four fires. No injuries have been reported.
Remedy: Consumers should immediately turn off and unplug the recalled refrigerator freezers and contact Viking to schedule a free, in-home repair.

27 electrical shorts and 4 fires out of 750 units?  Way to take your time guys!

Clarion Ledger

As well we have been receiving reports of the resignation of Viking President Brian Waldrop.

The Clarion Ledger reported that the layoffs were preceded by a 10% sales growth since 2012, which one could term excellent in a stable industry.  Evidently Middleby was not looking for 10% sales growth in a stable industry.  Perhaps they were seeking a 30% recovery from a recessionary slow down.
Perhaps they were seeking a 50%-75% improvements in net income because of a consolidation of distribution.
Perhaps they were planning on North Korea opening their doors to Viking Range forcing 3 shifts of production to keep up.
What was Viking hoping for, and was there any magical thinking involved?

We might have a much better idea of what the thinking is, if we know who is out, and who is in.

Multiple unconfirmed reports of executive resignations, and executive firings at Viking.
Please send us what you know, or add your comments below, while we try to dig into this.

If true, we would like to remind Viking that they should not be so selfish.  Stop monopolizing the news!!
We would like to update our cartoon some day.

6 Responses to (even more) Chaos Reigns at Viking: Update 11/19.5

  1. Appliance Stallion says:

    Advisor…Let’s break this down. The group that actually owned Viking was unhappy with the troubles they were having. Selling the organization may not have been what Fred Carl wanted , not his call. So , they had quality issues , performance not up to the competition and quite a bit of warranty to deal with. The fact that they are in Greenwood perhaps has kept them from attracting the engineering talent to that of the competition. That I am certain of from conversations with some very good engineers who would not relocate there. So they were purchased by Middleby. So if they did their homework you have to know that over time they will replace people they deem as not up to their standards. Now , I am not criticizing anyone who worked or works at Viking from the days prior to the purchase. However it is inevitable changes will take place whether needs or not. That is the way of business today. That plus I am sure the environment is different and not as comfortable as before. I have heard from some that before it was driven from top down as far as ideas and only a handful had input. If that is the case the folks still there probably are being asked their opinions and are not equipped because of the previous environment. There are some who worked there that you can speak with Advisor to get a better idea but I know of two who had that experience and they were pretty intelligent.

  2. Appliance Stallion says:

    Couple of things Advisor. Are you blaming the new owners for all of the quality issues ? The quality issues are well known to industry folks who have tested Viking products over the years. Do they now produce their own refrigerator or do they still purchase one ? As far as 10% top end growth…perhaps it led to a 20% drop in profits. After all business is usually driven by the bottom line except for all of you purely sales guys who think top line growth magically turns into profits. That is not always true , funny as that sounds. Perhaps that is why the change. You can think these moves are funny but let’s give them a chance. It well may be that the new owner has blown a head gasket but give him the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps in his world he thinks he knows what he is going to give the public but he may have to learn that you cannot shove low end technology down people’s throats , even by cutting pricing to gain back market share. Like I said before , there are some very smart people in the high end business who may not let him get the sales back regardless. I say he should circle the wagons , gain control of profits , take some time to develop new products and then look to grow. Seems easy enough. My guess is he will not take the time to do it right, but for the workers sake I would hope so.

  3. advisor says:

    “As far as 10% top end growth…perhaps it led to a 20% drop in profits.”
    That is a great point that I wish I had thought of before releasing my comment.
    Business turn-arounds take time of course, but by all accounts he paid double its value. We all, every member of our industry, wonders what the plan is. Because of what Viking was. Because there may only be one guy optimistic about their future.
    Are we watching a train wreck, or is this one of the greatest recoveries in major appliances? Quality, Market Share, Dealer Floor Space? The challenges are a many.

    How can we turn away? How can we avert our eyes?

    • Appliance Stallion says:

      Advisor.. Having some morning coffee before we put up our Christmas lights. Can’t resist . When Selim made his announcement was he beside himself ?

  4. the big east says:

    traveling thru out the east and meeting with retail sales people you hear that the customers still come into the stores asking to see Viking. the brand still has a strong consumer following and is selling well thru out the East. the big concern with the dealers is what happens to Viking when they cancel the last 2 powerhouse distributors.I’m sure Wolf and Thermador are shaking their heads wondering how do you win the top loyalty brand award seeing what turmoil Viking is going thru at the present time.When Viking turns this around batton down the hatches, here comes the new Viking by Middleby. And I might add Capital is doing well in the East. larry did a great job seeding the line

  5. Appliance Stallion says:

    Big East….I am almost certain that neither Wolf nor Bosch are shaking their heads. Wolf has grown through consistent and well planned strategies with a great product plan and they are well respected. Bosch has run with the THD brand and it continues to do well. While I am hopeful others in the high end can do the same I see both Dacor and Viking doing some bragging with no new results. This isn’t the 90′s anymore . Viking over the years built an incredible name with an average product. I just don’t know if their management understands this market well enough. It seems some of those high end folks have lost their way or think they can reprise the past. I hope so but it is a tougher market with better competition that is much smarter.This is not a braggers paradise anymore. It is about consistent and sustainable business practices with a well thought out product plan.Then you hear about the new Jenn-Air stuff doing well and Electrolux , LG and I am sure there are others. Tough road ahead for some.Do you think Viking can reinvent itself ?

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